Fact Check

Toby Maguire Did Amazing 'Tray Catch' Scene in 'Spider-Man' Without Special Effects?

Allegedly, the head of visual effects for "Spider-Man" said it took 156 takes to get the iconic shot.

Published April 7, 2024

 (YouTube account @SceneCityOfficial)
Image courtesy of YouTube account @SceneCityOfficial
Tobey Maguire did the "tray catch" scene in "Spider-Man" (2002) without any special effects.

The iconic first "Spider-Man" movie was released in 2002, starring a young Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. While the film did feature stunning visual effects (VFX) by John Dykstra – the same head of VFX for the first film of the Star Wars franchise – many on the internet claim that one "Spider-Man" scene in particular was executed without the use of any visual effects.

On March 27, 2024, X (formerly Twitter) account @fasc1nate posted a clip of the scene and claimed that "Tobey Maguire did the 'tray catch' scene in Spider-Man without any special effects."

The post received more than 21 million views and 64,000 likes, as of this writing. "I'm just not going to believe that until proven wrong," one user responded; the comment received more than 4,000 likes.

The full scene can be viewed below:

According to sites such as Screen Geek, The Independent, Buzzfeed, and Metro, the scene was indeed executed without the use of visual effects. According to the Independent, both Dykstra and Dunst stated in separate DVD Commentaries that the scene was all Maguire, no special effects. "This next gag here, where he catches all this stuff, he actually did that. Pretty good. Take 156," Dykstra allegedly stated. "Not CGI by the way, that's all Tobey, which is pretty impressive," Dunst allegedly said in the commentary. "They used sticky glue stuff to stick his hand to the tray."

Although we've been unable to confirm these accounts independently thus far, a user on YouTube uploaded footage of the DVD commentary video:

We reached out to representatives for Maguire, Dunst, Dykstra, and director Sam Raimi seeking corroboration; we will update this story upon receiving a response.


Dressler, Jacob. 'Tobey Maguire Did 156 Takes On One "Spider-Man" Scene'. ScreenGeek, 16 Jan. 2022, https://www.screengeek.net/2022/01/16/tobey-maguire-spider-man-scene-156-takes/.

Hooton, Christopher. 'That Spider-Man Tray Scene Wasn't CGI, Took Tobey Maguire 156 Takes | The Independent'. The Independent, 11 Jan. 2018. www.independent.co.uk, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/that-spiderman-tray-scene-wasn-t-cgi-took-tobey-maguire-156-takes-a7358816.html.

'Https://Twitter.Com/Fasc1nate/Status/1773198357294465369'. X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/fasc1nate/status/1773198357294465369. Accessed 4 Apr. 2024.

'John Dykstra | Visual Effects, Producer, Special Effects'. IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004375/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2024.

Lewis, Rebecca. 'Turns out There Was No CGI in That Tray Scene in Spider-Man'. Metro, 13 Oct. 2016, https://metro.co.uk/2016/10/13/turns-out-there-was-no-cgi-in-that-infamous-tray-scene-in-spider-man-6189780/.

Murrell, Morgan. 'Tobey Maguire Nailed That Epic Lunch Tray Scene In "Spider-Man" Without Any CGI'. BuzzFeed, 30 Jan. 2020, https://www.buzzfeed.com/morganmurrell/tobey-maguire-spider-man-lunch-tray-trick.

Spider-Man Lunch Tray Scene With Commentary. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw1V5Kr-9Y0. Accessed 4 Apr. 2024.

Spider-Man: Peter Catches MJ in the Cafeteria (Tobey Maguire HD Clip) | With Captionswww.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWwFWwbnEHQ. Accessed 4 Apr. 2024.

Taija PerryCook is a Seattle-based journalist who previously worked for the PNW news site Crosscut and the Jordan Times in Amman.

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